Second meeting of the European Union – Republic of Korea Specialised Working Group on Energy, Environment, Climate Change
On 24 October 2019, experts from the European Union and the Republic of Korea exchanged views on their respective policies and on the prospects to further enhance bilateral cooperation in order to boost their transition to clean energy, low-carbon and resource-efficient economies.
This was the second annual meeting of the European Union (EU) - Republic of Korea Working Group on Energy, Environment and Climate Change, taking place this year in Seoul.
Established under the Framework Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea, one of three agreements laying the foundation of the EU-Republic of Korea partnership, the Working Group provides a platform for long-term dialogue and cooperation on the transition to clean energy, low-carbon and resource-efficient economies. It first met in September 2018 in Brussels.
The parties debriefed each other on their domestic strategies and approaches in the areas covered by the Working Group. The EU referred to efforts to date and plans for a European Green Deal, and the Republic of Korea outlined the latest policy developments in the country. The meeting showed that both partners are increasingly bringing together climate, energy and environment policies.
The session on environmental issues focused on the topic of circular economy, with an emphasis on the need to step up action on single-use plastics and micro plastics. The participants also shared their experiences and lessons learnt in other areas, such as addressing transboundary air pollution and managing hazardous chemicals throughout their entire lifecycle. It also highlighted the partners’ commitment to achieve an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework. It was agreed to continue regular exchanges on the new policy tools and initiatives, consider specific cooperation activities and seek ways to develop better synergies between the clean air and climate agendas.
The two sides also held an extensive exchange of views on energy issues, centred on the energy efficiency improvements and the accelerated deployment of renewables. The Republic of Korea provided an update on the status of its offshore wind energy plans. Both sides reviewed gas market developments and discussed the potential of flexible, liquid and efficient LNG markets to accompany the transition. The role of hydrogen in the future energy mix also featured in the discussion. Participants explored possible joint activities for the year ahead to address shared challenges towards the clean energy transition.
As regards the tackling climate change, the EU and the Republic of Korea reiterated their strong interest in enhancing cooperation both in the bilateral and international contexts. They reaffirmed their commitment to the swift and full implementation of the Paris Agreement and updated each-other on the progress made in this respect. Furthermore, the two sides elaborated on their respective expectations and ambitions for the Conference of the Parties (COP) 25 and up to COP 26.
The EU presented its vision for the transition towards climate neutrality by 2050. It also referred to new opportunities for policy dialogue and technical cooperation on climate change and energy under the Partnership Instrument Project for cooperation on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in major economies – SPIPA. The impact of information and communication technology and digital transformation on climate change was also discussed. There was agreement on the need for a better coordinated approach between digitalisation and climate change policies.
The EU delegation was led by Mrs Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External Action Service, and the ROK delegation was led by Mr Chung Keeyong, Director-General for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
The next meeting of the EU-Republic of Korea Working Group on Energy, Environment and Climate Change will be held in 2020 in Brussels.